brilliant Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. adjective satellite of surpassing excellence
    • a brilliant performance
    • a superb actor
  2. adjective satellite having or marked by unusual and impressive intelligence
    smart as a whip; brainy.
    • some men dislike brainy women
    • a brilliant mind
    • a brilliant solution to the problem
  3. adjective satellite characterized by grandeur
    magnificent; splendid; glorious.
    • the brilliant court life at Versailles
    • a glorious work of art
    • magnificent cathedrals
    • the splendid coronation ceremony
  4. adjective satellite having striking color
    bright; vivid.
    • bright dress
    • brilliant tapestries
    • a bird with vivid plumage
  5. adjective satellite full of light; shining intensely
    • a brilliant star
    • brilliant chandeliers
  6. adjective satellite clear and sharp and ringing
    • the bright sound of the trumpet section
    • the brilliant sound of the trumpets


Bril"liant adjective
F. brillant, p. pr. of briller to shine or sparkle (cf. Pr. & Sp. brillar, It. brillare), fr. L. beryllus a precious stone of sea-green color, Prov. It. brill. See Beryl.
  1. Sparkling with luster; glittering; very bright; as, a brilliant star.
  2. Distinguished by qualities which excite admiration; splended; shining; as, brilliant talents.
    Washington was more solicitous to avoid fatal mistakes than to perform brilliant exploits. Fisher Ames.
    Syn. -- See Shining.
Bril"liant noun
F. brillant. See Brilliant, a.
  1. A diamond or other gem of the finest cut, formed into faces and facets, so as to reflect and refract the light, by which it is rendered nore brilliant. It has at the middle, or top, a principal face, called the table, which is surrounded by a number of sloping facets forming a bizet; below, it has a small face or collet, parallel to the table, connected with the gridle by a pavilion of elongated facets. It is thus distinguished from the rose diamond, which is entirely covered with facets on the surface, and is flat below.
    This snuffbox -- on the hinge see brilliants shine. Pope.
  2. (Print.) The small size of type used in England printing. ✍ This line is printed in the type called Brilliant.
  3. A kind of kotton goods, figured on the weaving.

Webster 1913